(LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2011) – May is National Bike Month and with warmer weather luring a growing number of bicyclists onto roadways, AAA and the League of American Bicyclists encourage both bicyclists and motorists to make safety a top priority. While most adults ride bikes recreationally, an increasing number are riding their bike to work, to improve their health, save money and reduce their overall carbon footprint.
"Education--on both sides—is key for all road users, of all ages,” said the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Community Relations and Traffic Safety Manager Anita Lorz. “Despite conventional wisdom, children are not the primary victims of bicycle crashes.” Nationwide, of the 630 bicyclist deaths in 2009, eight out of 10 were adults over 21, so the League of American Bicyclists and AAA have partnered on a campaign to encourage adult bicyclists to take five easy steps to safer riding.
The Auto Club also just published a 12-page booklet called, “Sharing the Road: A Guide to Safe Bicycling n California” to help drivers and bicyclists understand the importance of sharing the road since there are about 11,000 bicycle collisions annually in the Golden State that result in injuries or fatalities, mainly due to a lack of visibility. The booklet can be obtained at the Auto Club’s 79 branches throughout Southern California, by calling 800-541-5552. The brochure may also be downloaded online or a copy can be requested via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
“As more cyclists hit the road and trail, we welcome the opportunity to work with AAA to reinforce the safety messages that both cyclists and motorists really need to take to heart,” said Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists. “We have a shared responsibility to share the road – and the reality is that most cyclists are also motorists at some point.”
Follow the Rules of the Road:
- Obey all traffic signs and signals.
- Always ride with traffic, using the rightmost lane, obeying the same laws as motorists.
- Use hand and arm signals to indicate your intention to stop, merge or turn.
- California law requires helmets for riders under age 18 but it’s recommended that all bicyclists wear one.
- Never ride under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Ride where drivers can see you. Do not ride on the sidewalk.
- Wear brightly colored clothing at all times. At night, use a white front light and red rear light or reflector, and wear reflective clothing.
- Ride in a straight line and don’t swerve between parked cars.
- Make eye contact with motorists to let them know you are there.
- Always be aware of traffic around you and be prepared to take evasive action, exercising additional caution at intersections.
- Learn braking and turning techniques to avoid crashes.
Wear a Helmet:
- Helmets, when worn properly, are up to 85 percent effective in protecting the head and brain in the event of a crash. Should you crash, or have an impact that affects your helmet, replace it immediately.
- Fit matters: Wear your helmet level on your head, low on your forehead, with no more than two finger widths above your eyebrow.
"AAA is pleased to work with the League of American Bicyclists to remind adults about safe bicycling practices and to encourage motorists and bicyclists alike to share the road," Lorz said.
Motorists, too, can make an effort to reduce bicyclist injuries and fatalities. AAA encourages motorists to take the following precautions when sharing the road with bicyclists:
- Stay alert, avoiding all distractions while driving.
- Yield to bicyclists when turning.
- In bad weather, give bicyclists extra passing room.
- Check mirrors and blind spots for bicyclists before entering or leaving a lane of traffic.
- Slow down and give at least 3 feet of clearance when passing.
- Reduce your speed when passing bicyclists, especially when the road is narrow.
- NEVER honk your horn at a bicyclist just to let them know you are there; it could cause them to swerve into traffic or off the roadway and crash. Save your horn for emergencies.
- Always check for bicyclists before opening your car door, pulling out of driveways and in intersections.
For information on bicycle safety, please visit SharetheRoad.AAA.com